The Lost Expedition is a quest to restore power to the city of Nchuand-Zel within the mountains and discover what happened to the exploration party that went exploring within the abandoned city. The quest is obtained by reading Alethius's Notes next to his dead body in the Nchuand-Zel Excavation Site. The easiest way to start this quest is to read the note right after killing the Frostbite Spider Nimhe during Calcelmo's miscellaneous quest to eliminate Nimhe and during Thieves Guild quest Hard Answers. Also, Calcelmo will ask the player to kill the spider if asked to see the ruins. The note is found right up the stairs from where you fight Nimhe.
- Recover Stromm's Diary
- Recover Erj's Journal
- Recover Krag's Journal
- Recover Staubin's Diary
- Re-activate Nchuand-Zel's automated defenses
- Find someone who knows about the expedition
After obtaining the quest, cut through the spider web and enter Nchuand-Zel. Follow the quest marker to the Nchuand-Zel Quarters, while watching out for pressure plates and Falmer. Go down the first set of stairs and follow the path until reaching the dead body of Stromm by a tree. After reading Stromm's Journal the Dragonborn is now tasked with finding three other journals.
Return to the Nchuand-Zel. From here go to the bottom level and swim to the door across the water to enter the Nchuand-Zel Armory. (When crossing the main hall whirlwind sprint could be used as a shortcut to get to the door of the armory) Once inside follow the path to the left not up the stairs. After passing a locked gate the Dragonborn will find Erj's dead body and his journal. After reading his journal continue following the path and quest marker until reaching a door and exit back out to the Nchuand-Zel.
After exiting, straight ahead will be Krag's dead body and his journal. To the left, on a bench, is the Alteration skill book, Sithis. After reading his journal follow the path up and enter the door to Nchuand-Zel Control. Follow the path and eventually finding Staubin's dead body and journal.
The Dragonborn is now tasked with re-activating Nchuand-Zel's automated defenses which is done by activating the lever at the end of the path (activating this will start a war between the Falmer and the defenses). After re-activating the defenses go to the exit and back to Understone Keep.
The easiest way to do this is to NOT follow your indicator, because it will lead you around the dungeon again. When you enter the great hall, you'll see the Falmers fighting with the defenses. Go left, up the pathway near the mountainside and turn left again, as you go to the entrance of the Nchuand-Zel's Excavation Site. (For further information check your map)
Speak to Calcelmo who is on the left after the bridge. This completes the quest.
Aside from a large number of dwarven metal pieces that can be smelted to get Dwarven Metal Ingots and other loot along the way, Calcemo will give a leveled amount of gold for completing this quest.
- It is possible to skip through most of the quest if you have a Do Not Delete Box. When you reach the first bridge, look right and you will see a walkway leading down. Jump and place the Do Not Delete Box below you and you can jump on it to get onto the walkway, which puts you at the Control Room.
- If you collect any journal before you get Stromm's journal, you won't be prompted for getting those journals. But you can still complete the quest.
- If you open any journal, it will add one copy to your inventory. If you reopen it, it will add one more and so on.
- When you loot one of the expedition members' bodies, a copy of their journal will automatically open and be placed into your inventory. Taking the copy from their body gives you a second copy.
- If you need to pick up a journal that you already have in your inventory, you can drop it and pick it up again to complete that objective.
- You may find that after you have turned on the defenses, some of the Falmer will be mini versions of themselves, albeit still deadly (Confirmed PS3 and 360, Version 1.5).
- If you pick up Alethius' journal but do not start the quest until later you will not be able to get past the web wall without loading a save game prior to reading Alethius's journal.
- If a sword does not get through the web wall then try a bow instead. One arrow will open the wall. Destruction magic will also work.
- If you ran past the Dwarven Centurion on the bridge it will just stand there. This makes it very easy to exploit it for sneak and archery leveling by shooting it from a different bridge.
- After you activate the lever bringing all the Dwemer Machines to life, you may be prompted to go back to the armory instead of the Understone Keep. It will keep telling you to go from the main room to the armory to go find someone. Just ignore it and go back to Understone Keep.
- When returning, running back past the spider Nimhe through the tunnel can sink you under the map. Fixes itself.
- If you have a follower when leaving Nchuand-Zel and are exiting the ruins by the ramp along the mountainside, the follower may not take the shortcut.
- When you have finished the quest, the items stored next to calcemo are no longer named with "stealing", but taking them still gives a bounty. So be aware!